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Celtics beat depleted Nets 111-105 in preseason home opener

Celtics move to 4-1 in the preseason with win over shorthanded Brooklyn.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Fire up the Thin Lizzy, because the Celtics were back in town for their first home game of the season. They faced a deleted Brooklyn Nets roster that resembled some of the Sixers teams from the last few years. David Lee, Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder sat this one out for the Celtics, so Stevens had a smaller rotation to manage as well.

Marcus Smart was Boston's best player early on. He knocked down two free throws after drawing a foul on a nice drive to the basket. Smart also added a score out of the post, and some nice assists to Zeller out of the pick and roll. Later in the half he skied for a filthy put-back dunk too.

Terry Rozier made a few nice plays in the first period. He showed off his blazing speed with a highlight reel dunk attempt. He didn't convert, but drew a foul for his efforts. He also knocked down an 18 footer after crossing over his defender. Rozier has shown a nice ability to create space for his shot off the dribble so far in his young career. He's not a great shooter, but he's getting some interesting looks.

Boston's defense left a lot to be desired, but tightened up as the game went on. The rookies made some impressive plays, which is encouraging to see. R.J. Hunter showed some promise by surviving the Nets' attempts to post him up. Terry Rozier jumped into passing lanes for couple steals too. Because of his quickness, Rozier can turn those into solid fast break opportunities. Boston led 59-58 at the half.

Amir Johnson came out hot in the third quarter. He scored Boston's first 8 points, and nearly outscored the entire Nets team in that time. This offensive burst shows just one of the many potential benefits that a healthy Amir Johnson can add to this team.

Later in the game, Kelly Olynyk managed to make Tommy Heinsohn scream "Dirk Nowitzki" after a good post move, which was fun. Less fun was flagrant foul on Dahntay Jones he got called for. It looked like more of a nudge, but Jones fell really awkwardly. Luckily we avoided another Kevin Love style injury. Olynyk would finish the game with a very solid 14 points off the bench. 

James Young made an appearance and hit two big threes late in the fourth to extend Boston's lead. If he can keep knocking down those shots, it'll really help him find a spot in Brad Stevens' rotation this season.

Other notes:

As friend of the blog Jay King noted, we saw the classic Avery Bradley dribble hand off happen a little deeper tonight. This should lead to more three point looks for him, instead of the long twos that usually come from that play. It's something to watch for once the season starts up.

Sully Watch

He's been the 5th big off the bench so far in preseason. He got some first quarter time tonight though. He moved the ball pretty well, notching 3 assists in his first 4 minutes. He wasn't much a force scoring the ball unfortunately. He only scored 3 points in 13 minutes. So his frustrating preseason wasn't made much better by tonight's outing.

Overall, this was a okay performance for Boston. A blowout of this Nets roster would've been nice, but the Celtics were without some of their better players too. Seeing the young guys show some promise is good enough when it comes to the preseason.

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